A successful environmental initiative which has partnered MSPs with threatened and iconic Scottish species and habitats celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year with an exhibition outside the Scottish Parliament.
The Nature Champions initiative was developed by Scottish Environment LINK in 2013 to encourage MSPs to champion Scotland’s threatened species and habitats. Including iconic species like the red squirrel and golden eagle, to more obscure but equally as important species like the bilberry bumblebee, flapper skate and Manx shearwater.
Over the years, MSP Nature Champions have taken trips to visit their species and habitats all around Scotland. These have included boat trips to Scotland’s rainforest to see mature oak woodlands, snorkeling in sea lochs to discover important flame shell beds, or even night walks around Holyrood Park to search for native bat species.
The free public exhibition, titled ‘A Voice for Nature’, opens outside the Scottish Parliament on Monday the 28th August and will run until Friday the 22nd of September.
It will highlight how past and present MSPs have been working with local communities and conservation organisations through the initiative to be a voice for nature in the Scottish Parliament, raising awareness of everything from the smallest pond mud snail to the mighty blue whale. 91 current MSPs are Nature Champions in this Parliamentary session.
The exhibition will also raise awareness of some of the extraordinary species and habitats that Scotland is home to, including those represented by MSPs in the Nature Champions initiative. Images and facts about Scottish species and habitats will be displayed alongside case studies and QR codes within the displays will link to short audio clips narrated by the MSP Nature Champions themselves – thereby being a literal ‘voice for nature’ in the exhibition itself.
Through the exhibition, visitors can learn more about Scotland’s natural heritage, partnership working in conservation and the work that Members of the Scottish Parliament are undertaking as Nature Champions to protect and restore threatened and iconic species and habitats.
Deborah Long, Chief Officer of the initiative’s host organisation, Scottish Environment LINK, said:
“Since its launch in 2013, the Nature Champions initiative has gone from strength to strength. As of July 2023, some 173 different MSPs have become Nature Champions over the past three Parliamentary sessions.
“We are really looking forward to this opportunity to showcase the many successful partnerships which the initiative has played host to over the last ten years, for the ultimate benefit of Scotland’s nature and biodiversity, and look forward to the next ten years!”